FASHION / The pleasures and perils of a French country garden

OFFICIALLY, it was a wedding reception. To the invited guests wandering the grounds of the Chateau de Courances, an hour's drive from Paris, a couple of weeks ago, it felt more like The Draughtsman's Contract (or Last Year in Marienbad if you were past 40). Certainly the party to celebrate the marriage of Valentine de Ganay, the youngest daughter of the house, and her husband, the artist Markus Hansen, was an event. An international band of artists was invited to install or perform their work and over 400 guests strolled the grounds. The party (christened 'A Charadezade') began at four in the afternoon and went on until five the next morning.

Five years ago Valentine de Ganay organised a similar happening in the grounds of the chateau, and has wanted to stage another ever since. 'This is a great place for people to express themselves in a different environment. I hate those kind of arty ghettos. And people don't go to galleries and museums so much anymore. People are bored by those places. Therefore it is great to ask artists to do their work in a place completely off the wall like Courances. My only rule was that each artist should do something he or she couldn't do elsewhere. They chose their place. Then we discussed the conception of the pieces together.'

Over 20 artists participated. Australians, Americans, Britons and, of course, Parisians. The prime movers included shoemaker Christian Louboutin, designer Mattia Bonnetti, artist Rachid Koraichi, landscape artist Pascal Cribier, American conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth, and sculptress Muriel Pulitzer. Wooden rabbits clustered around the Delphic columns. Margolaine Degremont's abstract mobiles lolled on the lily pond, the rainbow-spewing prisms along the ornamental waterways were installed by David Boeno, and Liz Stirling created a crinoline swing. As the night wore on there was a shadow theatre in the Japanese garden.

The guests came mostly from the worlds of art and fashion and dressed accordingly. Breaking with tradition, they were actually encouraged to outdo the bride: Agathe de Ganay, the bride's cousin, went for a cheeky pink Coppelia look; Suzanne Aichinger, who models for Christian Lacroix, chose a mixture of Indian and North African prints; the hostess wore John Galliano topped off with a ramshackle Marie Antoinette wig; but most eyecatching of all was the line of statues, dressed in a crinolines by the Melbourne designer Martin Grant, which swept away from the house down towards the piece de resistance, Hercules in a hooped-skirt. He even lit up at night.

Towards midnight, the proceedings moved indoors to a drawing-room finale - Don Baretto's Cuban combo. Valentine had insisted on her guests taking perfunctory samba lessons in advance, and by 2am the room was filled with wild, swaying dancers. After the party was over, the chateau reverted to its more dignified role: though it is still home to the de Ganay family, it is also open to the public, who tour the grounds bearing camcorders, shepherded along by a respectful villager.

(Photographs omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

    £35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most